Commentary

Millennial Shoppers Heed Social Recs

Social media is a primary source of recommendations for millennials when they are shopping, according to a new global survey of 7,000 consumers ages 18-34 conducted by Demandware.

Overall, 77% of respondents said they had bought something after seeing it shared, liked, or “favorited” by a friend on social media. The proportion is higher among younger consumers, with 84% of respondents ages 16-19 saying they bought something after seeing it on social media, while 81% of respondents ages 20-24 did so.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook was cited as the most popular source of social shopping recs, with 59% of respondents saying they had purchased something after seeing it shared there, followed by YouTube, with 41% doing so. Next up was Twitter, with 29% of respondents making a purchase, followed by Instagram at 25%, WhatsApp at 20%, Google Plus at 15%, Pinterest at 14%, and Snapchat at 12%.

It’s worth noting that a higher proportion of younger respondents said they had been prompted to make a purchase after seeing it on newer platforms including Tumblr, Snapchat and Vine. Compared to respondents ages 30-34, three times as many respondents ages 16-19 said they bought something after seeing it on Tumblr or Vine, while twice as many made a purchase because of Snapchat.

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The survey results did not specify what proportion of purchases were made online versus in visits to brick-and-mortar retail establishments. On that note, while social media may indeed influence purchase decisions, so far they are not a major factor in direct referrals and conversions, as separate studies have shown that social media platforms contribute a relatively small share of total e-commerce activity.

For example, back in September of last year BI Intelligence and Moovweb found that Facebook accounted for just 1.32% of all referrals to mobile e-commerce sites, while Pinterest generated just 0.16% of all referrals to mobile commerce sites, and Twitter contributed a paltry 0.04%.

2 comments about "Millennial Shoppers Heed Social Recs ".
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  1. Ted Rubin from The Rubin Organization / Return on Relationship, January 27, 2016 at 1:59 p.m.

    Seriously, you need a "study" to tell you this. Just go to peoples pages and observe (WOW, no there's a revolutionary concept)... would have saved a whole lot of "study" dollars, not to mention time. 

    #RonR... #NoLetUp!

  2. Jeff Ernst from Smync, January 27, 2016 at 3:54 p.m.

    To follow on what the article says, what Ted mentioned in his comment, as well as referencing an article I wrote that was on Ad Week/Social Times about a month ago, you don't necessarily need a study to tell you this, but as marketers, you need to do a few things:
    - Shift your idea about who Millennials are - I deliberately use "up to age 35" in workshops, webinars, articles to get people to understand these are people maturing to a different stage with great buying power and habits that are being built.
    - Grasp the power of the tribe. This group feels it is their duty to help their friends make smarter buying decisions. You need to engage them authentically and empower them to share.
    - Influencing purchases like this doesn't come from audience size or if they are "paid influencers"- it comes from their friends, people they Trust.
    - Authenticity is overused...but it matters - brands need to authentically connect with advocates and enthusiasts. 

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